Not that the Supreme Court is going to run out of cases to issue opinions in, but this is the second week in a row that its Wednesday conference yielded no straight grants. There were some actions of note, however, including:
- The court granted-and-transferred in another felony-murder case, People v. Novela. The Fifth District Court of Appeal’s unpublished opinion in the case, among other things, affirmed a conviction for “[f]irst degree murder, committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, during the commission of which a principal personally used and discharged a firearm, proximately causing great bodily injury or death.” The Supreme Court directed the appellate court to reconsider its decision in light of Senate Bill 1437. [Related: Nico Savidge reports in the Mercury News – “Should an accomplice to a killing be charged with murder? A controversial new California law makes it harder to do so”; also here.]
- In a habeas corpus petition filed directly in the Supreme Court by a pro per — In re Wise — the court issued an order show cause, returnable in the Court of Appeal. This is also apparently a felony-murder case, but seems only tangentially related to Senate Bill 1437. The Supreme Court said that the issue to be decided is “why petitioner is not entitled to relief pursuant to In re Martinez (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1216 and People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155. (See also People v. Letner and Tobin (2010) 50 Cal.4th 99, 180-182.)” (See here.) But the court also stated that its order is without prejudice to filing in superior court a resentencing petition under Penal Code section 1170.95, which was added by the new legislation.
- The court denied review in People v. Landen, but depublished the Second District, Division Six’s opinion that concerned the appropriate restitution to a school district and the state after a no contest plea to making threats to use a weapon of mass destruction and making criminal threats.
- The court granted-and-held in Dhillon v. Anheuser-Busch, deferring action pending a decision in Noel v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., which will be argued in a couple of weeks. The issue in Noel is whether a plaintiff seeking class certification under Code of Civil Procedure section 382 or the Consumer Legal Remedies Act must demonstrate that records exist permitting the identification of class members. In Dhillon, the Fifth District in an unpublished opinion rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that “the trial court erroneously determined their proposed class was unascertainable by looking at the allegations of their pleading and the content of their experts’ reports, rather than solely at the class definition proposed in their motion.”
- The court also granted-and-held Symmonds v. Mahoney, deferring action pending a decision in another case that will be argued in two weeks — Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc. Wilson‘s issue is, in deciding whether an employee’s claims for discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and defamation arise from protected activity for purposes of a special motion to strike (Code of Civ. Proc., § 425.16), what is the relevance of an allegation that the employer acted with a discriminatory or retaliatory motive? Symmonds is a lawsuit against singer Eddie Money by his former drummer who claims he was unlawfully fired because of age, disability, and medical condition. The Second District, Division One’s published opinion reversed the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion to strike, holding the superior court had erroneously concluded the firing was not protected conduct that is subject to such a motion.
- The court granted-and-transferred in People v. Moreno, telling the Second District, Division Eight, to vacate its 2-1 unpublished decision and to “reconsider its conclusion that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to strike defendant Moreno’s juvenile prior. In particular, in light of the prosecutor’s unchallenged statements concerning protective laws for youth offenders and the court’s own statements at the hearing, the Court of Appeal is directed to reconsider whether the trial court can properly be presumed to have been aware that its refusal to strike the juvenile prior would render defendant ineligible for a youth offender parole hearing. (See Pen. Code, §§ 3051, subds. (b) & (h), 667, subds. (b)-(i), and 1170.2; see also People v. Gutierrez (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1354, 1391 [‘ “Defendants are entitled to sentencing decisions made in the exercise of the ‘informed discretion’ of the sentencing court” ‘].)”
- There was one criminal case grant-and-hold and the court shed three previous criminal grant-and-holds.